DDanville Life Saving Crew Tips for River Safety - WSET.com - ABC13

Danville Life Saving Crew Tips for River Safety


Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Danville, VA -- Right now is a dangerous time to get into a river because water levels are high and deceiving.

The Danville Life-Saving Crew spends hundreds of hours training for water rescues. They say it can take a week for water levels to go down after a big rain, and this is when you need to be extra cautious.

"I guess you'd call it a sleeper. When you look at it you think it is very docile. That's when it can be the most dangerous," said Billy Wyatt, Sgt. with the Special Operations Department of Danville Life Saving Crew. 

As the summer weather rolls in, more and more people head to the water. But before you schedule your outdoor activities, the Danville Life Saving Crew has some things you need to know. First, pay attention to the water levels.

"When the water is down low you see a lot of rapids, you see a lot of water churning, but the water is real shallow and people can tolerate that. When it gets up high like this right here you just don't know what you are getting into. You don't have a clue what you are getting into," said Wyatt.

Kayakers should also beware.

"If you don't have experience, no I wouldn't come out with the water up," said Wyatt.

And always remember:

"Don't go into the river without flotations. Make sure you have a life jacket, a wet suit, some sort of floatation to keep you above water," said Wyatt.

But if a dangerous situation arises, the crew is ready.

"Throw bags is the first thing we do. Everyone is taught from their basic water rescue classes last resort is to go into the water after a victim. Reach, throw, row, and go," said Gary Ryan, a member of the Special Operations Team.

If absolutely necessary, though, they will put boats, even swimmers, into the water. They tell me they have about three to four rescues every year, just from the Dan River.

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